Effects of magnetic resonance imaging on cardiac pacemakers and electrodes

Am Heart J. 1997 Sep;134(3):467-73. doi: 10.1016/s0002-8703(97)70083-8.


In phantom studies we investigated the effects of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) on pacemakers and electrodes. Twenty-five electrodes were exposed to MRI in a 1.5T scanner with continuous registration of the temperature at the electrode tip. Eleven pacemakers (five single chamber and six dual chamber) were exposed to MRI. Pacemaker output was monitored to detect malfunction in VOO/DOO and VVI/DDD modes. A temperature increase at the electrode tip of up to 63.1 degrees C was observed during 90 seconds of scanning. In seven electrodes the temperature increase exceeded 15 degrees C. Although no pacemaker malfunctions were observed in asynchronous pacing mode (VOO/DOO), inhibition and rapid pacing were observed during spin-echo imaging if the pacemakers were set to VVI or DDD mode. Pacemaker function was not impaired during scanning with gradient-echo sequences. Next to pacemaker dysfunction, electrode heating has to be considered a possible adverse effect when exposing patients with pacemakers to MRI.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Contraindications
  • Electrodes, Implanted*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Pacemaker, Artificial*
  • Phantoms, Imaging
  • Swine
  • Temperature